....decent enough, but depressing and hard on the emotions. I would avoid reading this tale if at this time of year you suffer from SADS, as there is very little that is uplifting about it for most of the way through. But it is not a bad book, despite this, as it is well-written. I'm also not a fan of novels with strong religious themes, and had I known this before starting, I would probably not have downloaded it.
There is a brilliant synopsis from amazon, so I won't repeat that, but for me this tale started off with me thinking 'what a selfish b******' when the widowed father enlisted for WW2 duty in Brooklyn in late 1943. I could understand that he was struggling with coping with two young children following the death of his wife a year ago, but there wasn't a thought for either of them, nor for his elderly mother who made it clear that she was beyond raising children at her time of life. He still went, but it wasn't out of a sense of duty, more a means of escape and keeping his mind and body busy.
So the children who were still reeling from their mother's sudden death now had to deal with the loss of their father, and would undoubtedly have been affected by the rejection - albeit not a cruel one, just a practical one - from their gran, and then having to deal, in the young teen female's case, with an adult that she does not like and that she resents.
Then we had to deal with Penny who steps in to take the children in, allowing them to live in their own apartment - she has been abused, as has her sister, by their parents, so she had issues whilst trying to cope with the kids, and loving their absentee father.
Then we have the Jewish landlord railing at God for taking his wife, but has hopes that he will be reunited with the son of whom he has no news.
I could see these lives actually being lived in the war, which was a depressing time of much hardship, and yes, there is a history lesson in it, but it was wearing and towards the end, I found myself skim-reading. In hindsight, I should have left it when I realised it was so glum - it made me think of long winter days when the sun doesn't even come out - but at the same time, I was drawn into an era that I'm glad I didn't live in. It is humbling, but again, overwhelmingly, IMHO, depressing.